Stanley Park and the Capilano Suspension Bridge are two of Vancouver’s top tourist attractions, and both are dog friendly!
When you’re on vacation, it’s fantastic to find activities you can enjoy with the furry members of your family. And it’s especially nice when you don’t have to skip the most popular attractions because you have your pets along. That’s exactly what we found when we visited the beautiful Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island … and the same held true for the City of Vancouver!
Stanley Park is Vancouver’s oldest, and Canada’s largest, urban park. Surrounded by water on three sides, the 5.6-mile Seawall encircling the park offers spectacular views of the city skyline, Lions Gate Bridge, and English Bay. And, as part of the Seaside Greenway, the Seawall forms one-third of the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path — stretching 17 miles!
Though this is Vancouver’s most popular recreation spot, it’s easy to find solitude along the numerous trails winding through the park’s dense rainforest. Dogs are welcome on all the trails, as long as they remain leashed and are picked up after. Small dogs can also take advantage of the fenced, off-leash area near the Park Drive tennis courts.
It would be easy to spend a few days exploring all 1,000 acres at Stanley Park – admiring the totem poles and other artwork of the First Nations, discovering the unusual and exotic plants, trees, and shrubs in the many gardens, and delighting in the diverse wildlife – at least 500 species in all – that call the park home.
Even finding a snack is no problem in Stanley Park! Brockton Point and Prospect Point both have gift shops and snack bars for a quick bite. Or track down the concession stands and food trucks scattered around the park, where you can get everything from a cup of coffee to a panini sandwich.
Parking is easy to find, and can be paid for at the many parking kiosks. From April through September parking is $3.25 per hour, or $11 for the day, and the rest of the year it’s $2.25 per hour, or $6 for the day. And, if you time your visit just right, you’ll be able to take advantage of the happy hour specials at the eateries. After a day on the trails, the boys were ready for a drink!
Since 1889, the Capilano Suspension Bridge has thrilled travelers from all over the world. Dangling 230 feet in the air, the bridge extends 450 feet over the Capilano River, and would cause any rational person to think twice before dancing across the swaying contraption.
We decided to start with something less shaky, though nearly as heart stopping – the Cliffwalk. Built into the face of the cliff, this suspended walkway offers a unique view of the canyon below.
The walkway is narrow, but traffic only moves in one direction, so there was no worry about paws being stepped on. Ty and Buster followed right along and didn’t seem to notice that we were walking above the treetops.
If crossing the bridge isn’t your thing, there are some nice gardens and a beautiful picnic area to enjoy until the rest of your party is finished exploring the remainder of the park on the other side of the river. Grab a cup of coffee from the café and enjoy the sweet, slow beating of your pulse.
Those anxious for that rush of adrenaline will want to make their way to the bridge. People are constantly flowing across the bridge in both directions; most are not watching where they’re going, so we walked with the dogs on our right sides to keep them out of traffic. The bridge does sway quite a bit, but the boys did better than we expected. Ty bounced right across – with his low center of gravity, the motion didn’t seem to affect him at all. Buster was a little more wobbly, but he’s never been accused of being graceful. Overall, I think they were less concerned than me.
There are more boardwalks, trails, and gardens on this side of the river, as well as a series of walkways suspended in the trees, which we didn’t do. You could easily see everything in the park in a couple of hours and, given the $40 per person admission fee and concentration of people, if I had to choose between Stanley Park and Capilano Bridge, I’d head to Stanley Park every time!
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